After three-straight road games to end 2012, American University men's basketball opened the New Year at Bender Arena and got off on the right foot, downing Maryland-Eastern Shore, 63-49. Senior Blake Jolivette made his first start of the season against the Hawks and scored a season-high 16 points to help the Eagles get back in the win column.
Jolivette was joined by three other American (5-9) starters in double-digit scoring. Senior Daniel Munoz scored 11 points with five assists, while senior Stephen Lumpkins and sophomore John Schoof each tallied 10 points. UMES (0-12) was led by junior transfer Troy Snyder who was the lone Hawk in double-digit points with 13.
"It was a good feeling to the win even though it wasn't always pretty," said head coach Jeff Jones. "I thought we had a lot of guys that played hard, but the bottom line is that it had been a while since we had gotten a W or been at home and it was nice to do both of those tonight."
Lumpkins, who struggled from the field, grabbed 13 boards for his fifth double-double of the year, while dishing out five assists and blocking three important shots. Lumpkins' two swats in the first half tied him for and then broke American's all-time record for blocks. He now stands with 128 career blocks, two ahead of Saliou-Binet Telly '01.
UMES actually scored the first basket of the game on a jumper by Snyder, but junior center Tony Wroblicky netted two free throws before a jumper by Jolivette gave American a lead they would never relinquish.
The Eagles built their lead to as much as 12 in the first half on a 3-pointer by Jolivette with 2:47 left in the initial stanza and closed out the frame with a 32-24 advantage.
AU benefited from 12 points in the paint and 15 points off turnovers, compared to UMES' four and two, respectively.
The Hawks looked reenergized after the break and quickly cut the Eagle lead to six point after a free throw by Ronald Spencer at the 16-minute mark. Again it was Jolivette that capped an American run, putting in a layup just 1:03 later to put AU back up by 11.
The two teams battled for much of the second half. Schoof hit one of his two 3-pointers at 10:27, but UMES went on a 5-0 to cut American's lead to just four with 8:35 remaining.
With the game as close as it had been since early in the first half, the backcourt combo of Munoz and Jolivette provided the difference as each hit a jumper, forcing a Hawk timeout.
After two free throws by UMES, American closed out the game on a 14-6 run.
Jolivette shot .500 from the field, hitting 7-of-14 attempts. Wroblicky was short of the double-dip with eight points and seven rebounds, while rookie Marko Vasic added eight points on 3-of-4 shooting with a 3-pointer in just nine minutes.
The Eagles have a quick turnaround before hosting Cornell on Sunday, January 6, at 2 p.m. A limited number of premium location sideline reserved chairback tickets still remain for this game, and can be purchased online by clicking here or calling the AU Athletics Ticket Office at (202) 885-TIXX.